We are delighted to announce that Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and first elected member parliament for the Green Party, has added her name to our list of supporters! In response to the good news that the Natural History Museum and Marks & Spencer are no longer excluding girls from their commercial partnership, Caroline had this to say:
“The brilliant and bold Let Clothes Be Clothes campaign to make sexism in the design and marketing of children’s clothes extinct is making waves. I’m delighted that the call for the Natural History Museum to stop excluding girls and stereotyping children from their product ranges for kids is getting results. In response to the recent demo at the Museum, where girls, boys and parents got together to roar for #dinosaursforall, the Museum and Marks & Spencer have confirmed that a new Science clothing range for girls will launch this autumn. A brilliant outcome. There is still much to do to promote gender equality around toys and clothes for children, rather than the enforcement of tired and damaging messages to both girls and boys about what they should like, wear and do. The Let Clothes Be Clothes campaign, has shown we can get things changed and is hugely inspiring.”
Jo Swinson, former MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women and Equalities
Last night columnist and author Hadley Freeman hosted #Red1000Live, Red Magazines Political Debateevent in Shoreditch, London with panellists Jo Swinson MP, Nicky Morgan MP and Yvette Cooper MP representing the three main political parties in front of a room full of Red readers who included Marie Anderson, a campaigner for Let Clothes Be Clothes.
With fantastic replies from Yvette Cooper MP “we need to ensure boys and girls, of the next generation, are feminists” and Nicky Morgan MP “we need to march up to the retail counter… (and say) I’d like to know why the Dinosaurs Pyjamas are for boys and not girls” it was Jo Swinson MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women, who stole the show.
“I absolutely share these frustrations as a parent, going along to buy toys, clothes, and the stereotypes are much worse than when I was growing up in terms of everything being boys or girls. I think that Let Toys Be Toys and now Let Clothes Be Clothes are doing a fantastic job, the best hashtag I’ve ever come across is dinosaurs for all I just love that and it’s about the Natural History Museum dinosaur collection at Marks and Spencer only being marketed to boys, and I just think that doesn’t make sense in 2015. Social media is a great tool to draw the attention of large companies, and in some cases that works, but I think its part of a wider issue about stereotyping and about sexism, it’s not just unconscious lazy stereotypes, but outdated attitudes about what boys and girls can do.”
“As well as some people not just thinking, the twitter backlash you can get shows you the misogyny still out there. As an aside I was talking about how children should play with the toys that they like, boys are caring as much as girls and if they want to play with dolls why not. My goodness the nerve that that touched on, The Sun had headlines saying that I suggested every boy should be given a Barbie, and somewhere there were people who felt threatened that a boys might want to play with a doll, and that speaks to something more deep rooted about sexism that still exists in society and particularly in our media.”
Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central
Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah has hit out at Marks and Spencer over a range of dinosaur clothes for boys. The frontbencher accused both the retailer and the Natural History Museum of sexism over the joint range, saying it excluded girls from science. She called on people to join in the protest outside the museum next week.
In a tweet she wrote: “If you’re in London next Monday help tell the dinosaurs in @NHM_London girls want a share in science too #hearusroar.” The launch of the clothing range in January sparked a huge row, with critics accusing both the museum and the retailer of sexism.
Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian & Activist
“We all want children to think big. The message that dinosaurs, or any parts of science, are for boys and not girls is limiting and completely unnecessary.”
“The good news is that both the Natural History Museum and M&S were very concerned when they heard about this unfortunate sexism and both plan to do something about it. The Natural History Museum said that it “will… work with [Marks & Spencer] to ensure the range is accessible to all children”, while M&S said: “Our design team is working with the Natural History Museum on expanding the range to include products for girls.”That’s where I come in. On Friday morning, I went to my local M&S and expanded some of their ranges for them. Unfortunately, there were no dinosaur T-shirts in stock, but I did find some brilliant tops marked “bug expert” in the “boys” section, and moved half of them into “girls”. In return, I moved some sparkly crop tops marked “play it cool” into the “boys” aisle. I also liberated Hello Kitty from her pink ghetto for a house swap with Thomas the Tank Engine, and reunited Peppa Pig and her brother George. Hey presto: now the ranges are accessible to all children and include products “for girls”.I told Marks & Spencer’s corporate press office about my genius solution, and they replied: “… we offer a wide choice in a range of styles and colours… our store layouts reflect the way our customers like to shop….” If you disagree, join me in setting free some dinosaurs. In the meantime, you’re welcome, Mr Bolland. I’ll take my bonus in cash, not share.”